Archive for the ‘DINING REVIEW’ Category

Spatch Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken Restaurant–a review   Leave a comment

Spatch Restaurant collage

After reading Michael Mayo’s rave review in the Sun-Sentenial, and it being Thursday, when I always eat lunch out, we decided to give Spatch Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken Restaurant a try.

Their menu is based on chicken whether in a sandwich, on a platter, part of a salad or even a side. I had ‘The Spatch” chicken sandwich which was excellent, with a side of coleslaw, not so excellent as there wasn’t really a taste to it even though made with raisins and almonds, for $8.90 (Unless you have time to study the menu your receipt could be a little confusing until you realize that a $2.50 side is included for $2.) In addition I had a soda which was $2.30 with as many refills as you want. My check with tax came to $11.87

Allen had the chicken breast meal with grilled corn ($10.95) and a soda ($2.30) and with tax came to $14.05 He thought the chicken was too dry, more about that in a minute, and didn’t particularly care for the corn.

Anthony had the Mac and Cheese bowl with chicken for $7.95 and his check came to $8.43 He felt it didn’t have enough bread crumbs and I brought up that I don’t ever recall having Mac ‘n Cheese with bread crumbs. Do make your Mac ‘n cheese with bread crumbs? Also the kid’s Mac & cheese says nothing about having bread crumbs in it.

Unless you take the menu and step out of the way and read it before you go up to order there is pressure in ordering especially when the question of sauce(s) comes up.

Mayo had written about the service but since this is one of those fast-casual eateries there isn’t much of that and what we got was minimal.  Either the buzzer system wasn’t working or it was off because two wrong plates were brought to our table. Nothing said about the various sauces being available for the table and except for giving our order and the meals brought to our table we had no interaction with any of the help.

Spatch is a new trendy restaurant almost interchangeable with many of the new trendy restaurants. The prices are reasonable, the chicken sandwich is a winner but for me it is a onetime experience.

I do suggest you go to their web site and get familiar with the menu before your visit.

It is on the east side of Federal between Oakland Park and Commercial Boulevards next door to the newest Fresh Market in the 3800 block.

PS And I hope this is a new trend–NO TV!

Posted May 16, 2017 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, Uncategorized

Courtyard Cafe–A Restaurant Review   Leave a comment

 Courtyard Cafe collage March 30 2017

It has been four years since I wrote a review of this restaurant but basically it stays the same: pleasant surroundings (one unobtrusive TV behind the counter), good service by Douglas, good food not overpriced, with the feel of what it is, being a neighborhood restaurant. In the heart of Wilton Manors, the city island,the Courtyard Cafe has been a mainstay of the community for years.

I had the cheeseburger ($8.75) with potato salad, just one of the side dishes offered. It was cooked the way I asked, served on a fresh bun, and the potato salad was tasty. With it I had a cup of fresh coffee ($2.50) and no problem getting a refill.

Allen had a hamsteak, eggs, toast, potatoes for $6.80.

Our check, for two, with tax and tip came to $24.13

As always a pleasant afternoon lunch at the dependable Courtyard Cafe without hassles though the parking system has changed.

It has a wide ranging selection of foods on its menu with various special items. While it is starting to get too warm to eat outside their courtyard dining is always comfortable and fun.

(Being a creature of habit it is Thursday which is my cheeseburger day but, I promise, my next meal will be something else.)


For the complete menu, and a free meal on your birthday, go to: wwwWiltonManorsCourtyard…

2 Restaurant reviews: Giuliano’s & Joe’s Crab Shack in Fort Lauderdale   Leave a comment

Giuliano’s restaurant joins about 50 other restaurants in a square mile ranging a smorgasbord of many tastes including seafood, steaks, Thai, burgers, Chinese, Mexican, etc., while also ranging in prices from Denny’s to Mezzaluna Bistro to Burger Fi, I Love Mac & Cheese, Panero’s, Outback, Gilbert’s, Tropical Smoothies, Chef’s Palette,  etc., plus at least 4 other Italian restaurants.

In other words a restaurant has to stand out here for price, service and/or food. Giuliano’s is a small, well appointed place with just average food and prices. Allen had the lunch special for the day of Baked Ziti ($6.98) while I had the Chicken Parmigiana platter ($8.98) with a side of pasta. I had coffee ($2.50) while he had a diet Coke ($2.50) both served with garlic rolls.

The Ziti was okay just as the Chicken Parmigiana was though nothing special and, basically, what we would get in any other Italian restaurant.

We did have a coupon which included the lunch special for free when ordering a basic dinner platter so with tax and tip our check came to a total of $20.

The service was good but the server has to learn the little things that add to a meal like offering grated cheese and/or crushed red peppers with pasta plus a soup spoon with spaghetti.

There is nothing ‘bad’ with Giuliano’s but nothing at the same time making me want to come back.

Joe’s Crab Shack

 Joe's Crab Shack March 2017 Collage

Joe’s Crab Shack is like hundreds of other seafood houses from Maine to Florida to California with high prices, a unremarkable menu and mediocre food. Oh yes the typical wall and ceiling hangings

We both had the East Coast Platter ($19.29 each) consisting of a piece of fried fish, 3 almost burnt shrimp, a lump crab cake and too well done fried clam strips served with cole slaw and fries. Allen had diet Coke ($2.79) and I had coffee ($2.79) For both of us the check, plus tax and tip, came to $56.81 for lunch.

With many seafood restaurants in Fort Lauderdale like the 15th Street Fisheries, the Sea Watch, Catfish Dewey’s and the Boatyard, just to mention a few, Joe’s Crab Shack would be one of the last places I would come to again as I really don’t remember what any of the food tasted like.

Posted March 15, 2017 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, RESTAURANTS, Uncategorized


Where to start? If you like VERY loud noise/music blasting out of the speakers you might like it. If you want to see more television sets (including 5-6 in the men’s room) all on without sound in one restaurant (wonder if they hold a world’s record?) you might like it.

If you like food that tastes as if it was taken out of a frozen box, or sauces taken out of a gallon jar, defrosted, put in a microwave and served to you might like the Tilted Kilt.

We had the Sampler platter ($13) which was made up of typical bar appetizers except for the pretzel served with 3 sauces. Allen had the Chicken Tenders with French fries and cole slaw ($11) and either he was sick or not hungry or they weren’t good as he didn’t eat the  slaw or fries. He had a diet coke ($2.99) and I had water.

For dessert we each had the Tilted Guilt Chocolate cookie ($6 each) plus .50 for chocolate sauce and .50 for caramel sauce which means the 2 cookies with ice cream cost $14. By the way the chocolate chip cookie was very, in fact too, soft.

The check came to $54.99 plus $3.30 tax plus a $10 tip coming to $68.29 but we had a groupon for which I paid $35 and was worth $64 causing a misunderstanding and a discussion with a manager who didn’t care to listen and had the attitude the customer is always wrong!

We were there from about 5:15 to 6:45 and were the only people eating dinner while there were about 6 or 7 customers drinking it was pretty deserted and this is a very huge place, deceptive from the outside.

The only positive thing I can say about the Tilted Kilt is that our server Chantelle did a good job.

Posted January 19, 2017 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, FOOD, Uncategorized



You get off to a bad start when you have ‘by the sea’ in the title of your restaurant and you are lucky if you will even smell the salt air let alone see a sea!!!

Okay we went for lunch around 3 PM and the place was empty. They had a sign wait to be seated and it took some time for someone to acknowledge us. There was a little to do about the menu since we had a groupon that said nothing about ‘only dinner’ which we discovered was changed after we bought ourgroupon. The manager came out and said he would give us the lunch menu like he was doing us a favor.

In any case, red being my favorite color and the predominant color of the decor is red, it made up for the menu ‘fuss’.

Our waitress Ailene G was pleasant and did her best to make the whole meal but sadly she couldn’t make up for the food.

We started with a dumpling appetizer $7.00 which really was very bland. Anthony had iced tea–without ice ($2) and I had a diet coke ($2) He ordered the Pepper Steak ($10.95) and I had the Fried Rice combo ($12.95) Anthony said he liked the Pepper Steak while I found the Fried Rice combo dry and tasteless. The combo consisted of 1 shrimp, 1 piece of meat and 2-3 small chicken strips served with onions, tomatoes and two slices of cucumber.

The check came to $36.99 while minus the groupon it was $5 and change and we left a $10 tip. Having been given the dinner menu first I thought the prices were very high and they were almost double the lunch prices. If the food is made the same way as the lunch meals were it is a losing proposition. It is a new restaurant in the area where there are Italian restaurants, the PomperdaleDeli across the street, steak houses, seafood restaurants, a German restaurant, etc. With the groupon it cost us $31 for lunch

Thai Moon By The Sea needs something special–actually good food at reasonable prices–if they want to make it here.

Meanwhile, right now, Cabo Blanco is the best restaurant deal for lunch!



I don’t recall the last time I was at this restaurant but it certainly has been a few years. I don’t often go up to that area anymore but we were going to a movie house nearby and I had seen a coupon “DINNER FOR TWO $25”. It consisted of one appetizer: Onion Loaf. There are 2 choices selecting from Baby Back Ribs or a half BBQ Chicken or BBO Chicken and Ribs with each coming with a side. Last but not least there was a choice of ONE of the following: Key Lime Pie, Ice Cream or Chocolate Cake. It sounded like a good deal so after the movie we went to Bobby Rubino’s.

Our server Katelyn–yes she has heard all the jokes so we didn’t say anything!–said we could have one of the other many appetizers and $4 would be taken off that price but we decided to stay with the onion loaf which turned out to be a good choice. It wasn’t too oily and had a good coating.

I had the BBQ chicken and ribs while Allen had the half BBQ chicken and we both ordered a side of crazy rice. I liked my chicken and ribs though the sauce was a bit too sweet while I found the rice too lumpy as if it had been cooked much too long. Allen disagreed liking his but he is not a lover of BBQ (what does he know?) but did a good job on the chicken.

We shared the piece of a fudge like chocolate cake equally! :O)

It turned out that in very small print was “Each dinner must include the purchase of a beverage” so we each had a diet cola adding $5.50 to the check. With the addition of $1.83 tax the check came to $32.33. Attached to it was a check showing what it would have cost without the coupon it came to $50+ and I like that as the server should be tipped on that bill, not the reduced one!

Katelyn did a great job as a server whether refilling drinks before we had to ask, bringing extra napkins and wet naps, keeping the table clean and just all around being pleasant.

You know Bobby Rubino’s has been in business awhile–over 30 years at this location–as they still believe in serving a hot loaf of bread with your meal!


Posted December 4, 2015 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, Uncategorized



No other American sandwich goes by as many names as the sub (all over the USA), hoagie (Pennsylvania), grinder (northeast), po’boys (New Orleans), heros (New York) to name a few. Most have in common many varieties of long individual breads filled with meats and/or vegetables though some people will state as fact that some are only served as cold will others are served as hot and there are more definitions than pizza.

It’s been many years since I had a sub from Little Italy in New York, or a po’boy in New Orleans, but since I have been living in Fort Lauderdale, the city of franchises, I use the Subway stores, especially the one in the Gateway shops of Sunrise Boulevard, as the standard to judge the various sub, hoagie, grinder, hero, etc. stores now available in the area.

A couple of days ago I got a mailing with coupons for a new franchise called PrimoHoagies. It’s been awhile since I had been to a ‘new’ restaurant so we figured we would give them a try after the movie. Bad decision as it seems they were giving a free hoagie away to anyone who signed up on their web page and they wouldn’t honor the coupons. (See further down.)

They have 30 different hoagies in 3 different sizes which can make for confusion and long lines, when they are free and though the lines weren’t long there was confusion. Also, unlike Subways none of their hoagie making items were readily visible. Along with everything else you had to fill out the application for their web page.
In any case I ordered the Italian Hoagie consisting of proscuitto, provolone cheese, capicola, salami, lettuce, tomato and onions served on a sesame roll–there was no choice of breads or condiments. The sandwich came tightly wrapped and packed to go though we were eating it there on one of their 5 small indoor tables. They did have some outside tables but we don’t sit outside in August in Fort Lauderdale! Even with the mixture of meats and vegetables it was a dry, tasteless sandwich.

Allen ordered ,and paid $8.59 for since he won’t subscribe to a web page, a old fashioned meatball hoagie. Somehow or another they ‘lost’ his and/or gave it to someone else by mistake. Considering he had to wait 30 minutes more, paying for a sandwich, than I did who got it free, the manager should have picked up his check.

In any case his sandwich consisting of grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses on meatballs and a very light amount of sauce, if any, was dry and tasteless.

Maybe because it was opening day or mismanagement the food wasn’t up to par so I’ll be heading back to Subways next time or, even better, for a full service restaurant with homemade subs it will be to Big Louie’s.

By the way–maybe a sign–the adddress is 666 and the air conditioning wasn’t working!

Posted September 6, 2014 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW

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